Monday, September 25, 2017

Quake Update

It's been almost a week since the big earthquake. I thought I'd get on here and give a quick update about what is going on down here. Elder and Sis Wakefield were in the air on their way to NYC when the quake hit so they've missed out on all the upheaval. My grandma asked me yesterday if everyone is in a panic and I said no, not really. My family is pretty calm. However, after yesterday, my opinion changed. A lot of people have heard reports of another bigger earthquake that is supposedly coming. As far as I know, there is no possible way to predict a quake, but many people here believe this prediction anyways. People do seem to be on edge, there is an air of tension. There was a 6.1 quake about 6 hours from us in Oaxaca a couple days ago. Mexico just can't catch a break! 

We went out on outreach yesterday and Mom and I walked back and forth across this pedestrian bridge handing out a flier specifically made for these times.
This is a bridge that goes over a major road here in town. On either side of this bridge are bus stops. People are getting on and off buses constantly. This is a great place to reach a ton of people!

 Has God shaken your life? 
God is talking to you today. It's time to seek him. 
Put your feet on the Rock that doesn't move - Jesus Christ.
 As we were coming down off this bridge, Mom handed a lady this flier. She gasped as she took and clutched my mom's arm saying, "Is the ground shaking? Oh no! The ground is shaking!" She was in a panic. Mom replied, "No! It is just the cars below making the bridge shake!" The lady gave a nervous laugh then continued on her way. 
You can see what I mean now by there being fear in the hearts of the people! 

I was doing dishes before going out the other day and before I left I thought - "Man. I hope there isn't an earthquake while I'm gone."
LOL. This didn't need any help in toppling over.
 This is what it looks like driving in the historical center of town. Buildings are falling apart, there is caution tape everywhere, police blocking roads. Authorities are asking people to not venture into this part of town because the buildings are very old and certain structures, walls, cement overhangs, etc could give way at the slightest provocation. Officials are going place to place, school to school, checking to see if they are safe. Kids haven't returned to school.

There has been a huge push for donations...
I honestly can't remember how to say it in English...I looked it up and it says "provisions" and "collection center". You know what I mean though. There are collection points set up all over town receiving canned food, powdered milk, diapers, water, bleach, first aid items...any kinds of non-perishable survival things. Grocery stores here have entire sections that are cleared out.


Some people have misgivings about donating to Red Cross or other organizations. We've received reports that political candidates are taking these donations and slapping their propoganda on it and giving it away as if their party is doing some great deed. We've heard that they're requiring people to bring a copy of their identification to be able to receive aid - with this, these parties commit voter fraud. There is so much corruption and dishonesty! 
A police man in my church said there was a warehouse full of food and first aid that had been donated. Government workers were given free reign to go in and take whatever they wanted. This is just wrong! 

Of course this isn't happening to every donation received, but because of these rumors, people are very wary to donate just anywhere. 

We went to the grocery store yesterday and there were these little old ladies with their families in front of the store with carts and posters saying "donate here!" It really struck my funny bone. 
"Donate here and feed my family for the next year!" It is hard to know who is legit and who is just taking advantage of a dire situation.

I have a friend here in Puebla that I met when I was seven years old. Her name is Lisset. Her brothers were in Elder Wakefield's English class where he taught Search for Truth in English and Spanish. 
Her and I became instant friends. I didn't speak Spanish and she did not speak a lick of English. My mom was our translator. I don't remember actually learning the language, but after a while we didn't need someone translating our words. We were hooked at the hip! My family was always at their house or they were at ours. 




This is Lisset's house - 
We had a huge earthquake back in '99 and one of her older brothers jumped out the second story window to escape. LOL.

Lisset called me the day after the earthquake. She travels a lot for her job and had received news from several friends that the villages they live in are completely destroyed. She and some friends were getting together supplies to take up to these communities in need. 
Lisset sent me these pictures and asked if we could put out a plea to our church people to donate provisions to these people that have suffered so terribly due to the quake. 
We felt much more confident about this avenue of giving. Lisset and her friends were going directly to the people in need and giving them these supplies with no strings attached!



 She said what these people are wanting most are tarps so they can make temporary roofs over their heads to sleep under. They are too scared to go back into their houses because they are so badly damaged and could cave in.


There was a house on the side of this hill. Now the family is living in these two trucks. 

We took over a load of supplies on Friday to my friend's house. Many other people had made donations as well - Lisset's living room, kitchen and guest bedroom were full of supplies!
They took all this stuff over yesterday morning and will be going again this next week to take more things to a different village. 




Lisset said they made this sign for them while they were there. It says - 
"Santa Cruz thanks you. 
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
Please come back when we have something to offer back to you...May God give you more. 
Village of Santa Cruz. 
We are grateful!!!"
 

I will have update on this again maybe next week. In the meantime...get ready for a couple more posts this week about other happenings! I'm excited to blog this week.

Bethany

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Earthquake

Hello hello. I'd like to say first - thank you to everyone that has showed their concern for our family and churches here in Mexico in the last 24 hours. It has meant a great deal to me and my family. 

We had the first earthquake about 12 days ago. The epicenter was in Chiapas, Mexico which is about 8 hours south of us. We definitely felt that quake but it wasn't too bad. 

Yesterday afternoon we had another one. The epicenter was in Morelos, less than two hours from us. It was a 7.1 quake and we felt every bit of it. It was pretty scary! I was next door to a middle school when it happened and as the ground began to shake, a roar arose from the school. A roar of yelling, screaming, windows shaking, buildings shaking. Kids were escaping down stairs and out of their classrooms, running for their lives. 

The craziest thing though was what we saw as the earthquake was coming to an end. We turned around in this open field we were standing in to see the volcano letting out a dark plume of smoke. 



We immediately sat down to call our family members and to look the quake up, see how big it was. Unfortunately we'd lost all phone service and electricity. We just sat there saying the same things over and over again, "that was huge. I cannot believe that just happened. I hope everyone in Mexico City is ok." 


México City is only a couple hours from us but when earthquakes hit, they suffer terrible repercussions because the city was built on a lakebed. I read on CNN this morning that the ground the city is built on "amplifies shaking like Jell-O on a plate." So far there's been more than 200 deaths, but they are still clearing out rubble and pulling people out. It is terribly sad - a school collapsed and they've been able to rescue only 4 kids that were alive. Twenty one have been confirmed dead and thirty of them are missing. A church on the side of the volcano collapsed with people inside after the small eruption pictured above. 

The church in Mexico City had some damage done to it. The two churches here in Puebla are fine. Contact was made with the pastor of the church in Morelos (the epicenter) and he said he honestly thought he was going to die. Their city has suffered a lot of structural damages, but so far only one death there. I think their church building is fine. 

We thank God for his protection, for safety, for keeping our houses and churches safe and sound. I just don't understand how you can have such strong shaking and cement buildings still standing afterwards. I thought cement was not flexible, but these buildings looked like play dough when the quake hit. 
I am thankful to be alive and whole! 

Bethany 




Monday, September 4, 2017

Yuka

This past week, Mom brought home a monster. It weighed 5 kilos - 11 pounds! She'd seen this fruit in the grocery store for a while and her curiosity finally got the best of her. She brought home this big guy having done plenty of research beforehand on how to deal with it. 

It had a sort of gummy sap oozing out of it - we had to wear gloves in the beginning to protect our hands from this sticky mess. It smelled wonderful though!

Mom cut it all around then slowly pried it open. 
This was a pretty formidable fruit! Prickly, sticky, and heavy.

There it is - 
I googled it and this is also called a Jackfruit.

It tasted like a vanilla banana to me. 
Others said it tasted like a cantaloupe, honey, apple, grapes...

It was bigger than my head - Ha!

The proper and easiest way to extract the meat was to cut out the middle and turn the whole thing inside out.

Turning it inside out makes the meat just pop out nicely to where you can grab at it.

The fruit is made up of all these sacks with seeds in them. You pinch it...

...and the seed pops right out.


Anyone ever tasted this fruit before? It is interesting. Who knows what my mom is going to do with 11 pounds of yuka though. Ha! We need to have a family reunion or church meeting, or incorporate in into a LOT of green smoothies. 

Bethany

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kid's Day

I found this little goodie in the archives - Dia del Niño. Yes this was a couple months back, but these pictures are cute! We had a huge showing for Kid's Day. As usual Carmen and I went out to pick up our load of kids and we brought back even more than usual. Carmen had three on her lap.

We played a bunch of games...

...and of course there was the obligatory pinata! 




Behind the scenes - 




Once the pinata broke, the kids piled onto each other grabbing at the pile of candy that had fallen. Everyone left with huge bags full! 
We love our Sunday school kids! 

~Bethany~

Monday, August 28, 2017

Diaz Girls Visit Puebla

 The Diaz girls came and visited me a couple weeks ago! I was prepping for Amanda's visit - making beds, spiffying up, etc. I was in the middle of washing a load of laundry at my parent's house when they ran out of water. (Each household has a cistern that is filled each week. It's up to you to use it wisely! In this case, we'd had the march the Sunday before and a lot of people in service so the water was used faster.) 
So I brought my wet laundry back to my house, rinsed the soap out of it and hung it out to dry on my roof. I had to stay up there to make sure the little Ginger didn't pull my laundry off the lines and tear it up. While I waited for my stuff to dry, I chatted on the phone with my sister, Nicole. 
Whenever one of us asks what the other is doing, we usually reply with a picture. 
In this case, I sent her a picture of sheets billowing in the wind and she replied, "You should blog that." 
I said, "Blog sheets drying? You are turning into a white girl :-/" 
She denied it of course, but said from an American perspective, it is interesting. HA!!
Ginger hungry for attention and a shnuggle

Sheets drying on the line - fascinating, huh! :)
I'm telling you - she's sneaky. Can't take your eyes off of her for a second! She got one of my pillowcases and managed to make herself a bed before I caught her. (Ginger is my neighbor's dog that lives on our shared roof.)
The kids came over through the course of line-drying. Ximena still had her bed hair so I fixed it into a little crown braid.

Edgar and Ximena, my little neighbor kids. By the way - their mom is pregnant with another baby boy so I'm going to have a new little friend in a couple months!
I had to run over to my parent's house at one point and sat on the couch. Olive jumped up and threw herself across my lap. This girl think she is still a puppy.

I left my house at 2:45 and headed for the airport in Mexico City. I was only expecting Amanda, but when I arrived, she had quite the surprise for me! I was told to close my eyes...and Bethany walked around the corner! I was completely shocked and not expecting that at all. It was a great surprise!

We got back on the bus and headed home to Puebla. This old lady sat on the other side of the aisle and snored, choked, sputtered, and talked in her sleep the whole way.

When we got back into town, we stopped for breakfast at Los Almuerzos. The best authentic Mexican breakfast in the city!

When we got home, we all fell into bed for a "nap". We were all exhausted! We woke up in time for church that evening. 
The next morning we woke up to a nasty storm and an incredibly dreary day. We went to prayer in the morning, stopped for chicken on the walk back to my house, then stayed home the rest of the day talking, laughing and staying cozy and warm!
I had rainboots so I crossed the street to pick up the chicken and the girls stood on the opposite sidewalk waiting for me. I tried to convince them to just go back to the house, but these Washington girls are not scared of cold rain!

A wonderful breakfast of Swedish pancakes

This is pretty much how our day went
Dinner, by request of the Diaz girls
The next day we got up bright and early and went into the Zocalo





Between us, I think we bought about 40 meters of material. Those fabric-cutters got their workout!
We souvenir-shopped, ate, and walked the whole day. We had a really good time.

One of the days, Amanda made this Korean soup. It looks like Top Ramen, but believe me it is not! Lol! It was deeeelicious.





Sunday morning we went to church at Elder Wakefield's.

Bethany and Amanda both testified
 Amanda went with me to drop the little kiddies off.
 

Sis. Soledad and Bethany

We wanted to spend our last day in Mexico City. Dad wouldn't let us go without Abner so he was nice enough to take and entire day off work to tour-guide us around! 
I'd been to the city many many times, but never to sight-see and adventure around. It is a huge city and there is so very much to see and do! 
We started with breakfast in the center of town at a little place called "El Sazon" (The Seasoning).


The famous zocalo of Mexico City was beautiful! I want to go back! One day is not nearly enough. I told Abner I'd be satisfied with four!


The immigration something-rather display of the city. On each PVC pipe stuck into the ground was a quote or phrase about immigration or being deported. Stuff like, "My dad's deportation ruined my life" or how terrible it is to have walls. 
Abner was very insistent about going up into the Torre Latinoamericana. When we got to the top, he was excited to inform us that this was the only building left standing after 3 huge earthquakes. 
Abner. Please stop. 
Haha!!

 



Being at the top made me nauseous and dizzy. Heights are not my thing! 
It was a beautiful view though and a great feat climbing to the top! 
Memories were made that we'll never forget!


Madero St.





What a wonderful week! Not even a hurricane in Veracruz could get in our way! 
Thank you, girls, for coming and visiting me. I love you both. Come back soon!

~Bethany~

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